Featured news this month includes Cathay Pacific reopening their lounges at London Heathrow, Qantas’ new VR app, Supersonic Jets backed by Richard Branson and more.
The Travel Stories that captured our attention this month.
Posted On November 29, 2016 Posted By Andy Buerckner
SKYTEAM ALLIANCE LOUNGE SET TO OPEN AT BEIJING AIRPORT
A new Skyteam Alliance Lounge will be opening its doors at Beijing Airport in the coming weeks for international First and Business class passengers as well as Skyteam Elite Plus Frequent Flyers in economy. The lounge will feature seating for up to 160 passengers, complimentary Wi-Fi, computer terminals, access to USB ports and AC power, shower facilities, a buffet, self-serve beverages, a wine bar, a TV room and much more.
NEW SUPERSONIC JET GETS RICHARD BRANSON’S BACKING
Richard Branson has now backed the creators of a new supersonic ‘Boom’ jet which is set to be capable of travelling from Sydney to Los Angeles in under seven hours. Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing arm, the Spaceship Company, will help build a fleet of the 40 seater aircraft and first departures have been planned for 2023. It is estimated that the flights will cost about the same as current business class flights.
CATHAY PACIFIC REOPEN LOUNGES AT LONDON HEATHROW AIRPORT
Cathay Pacific have had a soft opening of their business and first class lounges at London Heathrow Airport. Located in Terminal 3, the much awaited lounges will officially open on December 7. The business lounge will be open to Cathay Pacific business travellers, Marco Polo Club Gold members and Oneworld counterparts as well as business class passengers in other Oneworld airlines departing Terminal 3. The first class lounge will be open to Cathay Pacific first class travellers, Marco Polo Club Diamond and other first class Oneworld travellers departing Terminal 3.
VIRGIN AUSTRALIA’S POST FLIGHT LOUNGE ACCESS FOR BUSINESS CLASS FLYERS
All domestic Australian Business Class Flyers are now eligible for pre and post flight lounge access with Virgin Australia provided travellers present an applicable same-day boarding pass or itinerary. Previously, this was a benefit solely for Virgin Gold and Platinum frequent flyers.Virgin have confirmed that post flight lounge access is not eligible after Virgin International flights.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES AND LUFTHANSA GROUP’S CODESHARE EXPANSION
Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa Group have announced that as of 10 December, they will be expanding their codeshare networks across their ‘home markets’ in a joint venture agreement.This agreement will mean that travellers on Singapore Airlines will have access to 20 new European routes operated by Lufthansa and Swiss Airlines and in exchange, travellers on Lufthansa and Swiss Airlines will have access to more routes operated by Singapore Airlines.
QANTAS’ VIRTUAL REALITY APP
Qantas have launched a new Virtual Reality app named ‘Qantas VR’, which gives travellers the opportunity to experience destinations before physically going there. The app is available for iPhone, Samsung Gear, Android, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive devices and Qantas have uploaded videos for destinations such as Uluru, Sydney Harbour and Hamilton Island with more in production.
DRAGONAIR NOW REBRANDED AS CATHAY DRAGON
Dragonair has now officially been rebranded as Cathay Dragon - bringing more visibility to the regional subsidiary of Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon will share a single website as of 2017 and the Cathay Dragon rebrand has now been integrated to all boarding gates, lounges and check-in desks.By Sébastien Bertrand (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tiseb/4592786358/) [CC BY 2.0 or CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION’S PLANS FOR ETIAS
The European commission have confirmed plans for a new ‘European Travel Information and Authorisation System’ (ETIAS) that is projected to begin in 2020. The ETIAS will be a authorisation required for all visa exempt travellers to the EU in order to ‘strengthen security’ and ‘secure borders’ by advance checks and cross-checking of information on travellers before they enter the EU. ETIAS will be valid for five years for multiple travels and the application fee is estimated to cost five euros.
CUBA IN OFFICIAL 9 DAY PERIOD OF MOURNING
Cuba are now in an official 9 day period of mourning following the death of former president Fidel Castro. DFAT have advised travellers to ‘refrain from any behaviour that may be interpreted as festive, disrespectful or disorderly’. The official period of mourning will end on December 4th when his remains will be buried.
EMIRATES’ ENTIRE FLEET IS NOW BOEING 777S AND AIRBUS A380S
Emirates have now retired the last of its Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft making their entire fleet solely Boeing 777s and Boeing A380s, the only airline in the world to do so. This change will now mean Emirates’ inflight entertainment will be 100% video and travellers will have up to 2,600 channels to choose from.